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Canada Day bash on the move

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OTTAWA—Federal officials are on the hunt for a new location for the country’s marquee party for Canada Day celebrations.

A select group of companies were invited to bid on the project to find a new location near Parliament Hill for the federally-organized Canada Day bash once the Centre Block is closed in 2018 for a decade of badly-needed repairs.

During that time, Parliament Hill won’t be able to host the annual July 1 party that attracts thousands to the heart of the capital.

Government bid documents show the project to find a new party spot is budgeted to cost $30,000, with a final report and recommendation to Canadian Heritage officials due in January.

The government says “time is of the essence” to find a new home for the gala.

The bid documents say the new site should be “optimal for the public experience” for “Canada Day celebrations and for future anniversaries.”

It also should lie between two bridges that connect Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.—the Alexandra Bridge to the east and the Chaudiere crossing in the west.

That means the party won’t be moving too far from Parliament Hill and likely will remain along the Ottawa River.

Finding a new home for the Canada Day event—and possibly carnivals held in and around Ottawa’s downtown core during the depths of winter—also will mean looking for a new launching site for the evening fireworks display.

Those fireworks usually go off from Nepean Point, a green space along the Ottawa River just east of Parliament Hill and next to the National Gallery of Canada.

But Nepean Point is undergoing its own work around the same time as workers begin renovating the Centre Block, making it a no-go for fireworks and forcing a relocation of the launch pad.

Moving the site will be good news for the National Gallery of Canada, which had asked the government to move the fireworks display.

In a 2014 letter to federal officials, the gallery’s CEO raised concerns that the “very strong vibrations caused by the fireworks” put the building’s windows and its valuable collection of Canadian art at risk while also leaving a “sticky, tenacious residue” on the glass roof.

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